Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Keeping tabs on kids gaming with PiggyBack

I am not a Mafia Wars kind of guy (if you knew my multisyllabic Italian last name, you'd undesrtand).   For a brief time I was involved with Parking Wars but it got boring (also too much like real life).    And Farmville?  please.

But that's me!   And I never said I was typical!

But these games and plenty of others are used and played by Facebook users everyday, especially by kids.  Social apps likes Whyville and Planet Cazmo are attracting kids to their worlds with their flashy colors and sounds, all geared to kids.   As a parent I first tried Facebook as a way to keep up with what my kids would likely get involved with, so I could at least be familiar with the environment.  But how do I keep up with all of the new game sites and social nets that are coming around?

Piggyback by Media Chaperone have partnered with several kid-friendly sites to offer a common user interface for reporting on your child's usage, from time spent online to their accomplishments in the games, so as a parent you can see what their doing.   Parents can use Facebook credits as a single payment system for all of the games the kids play. So virtual currencies, subscriptions, etc, all get managed by the parent using Facebook credits through a single site.  

Maybe I am getting old (maybe??) but I don't have the time to create my own accounts on the plethora of sites that are out there, from Webkinz to Nick to Woozworld, having a one-stop portal that shows what my kids are doing (and for how long!) is an easy sell to me!   And here's the kicker:  Piggyback is free!   An additional perk: Piggyback will alert parents when there are security or behavior issues that might pop up, as in user X asked Johnny for his password.

Any tools that make keeping my kids safe (and harmlessly monitor how long they're playing online) is a benefit in my book, and I am glad to see Piggyback is partnering with so many sites to help me keep tabs at a safe distance.

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